When C was almost three years old, I began a tradition with her because I wanted to do something to make her feel as special as she is.  We were having a tough time around Christmas in 2008; B was born in October that year with some kidney issues and severe reflux, which made his first seven months really difficult, and my dad passed away very suddenly two months after B was born. So, our house just wasn’t the happiest place around Christmas that year. I didn’t want C feeling all the stress and sadness hanging over us, so I decided to think of something special that she and I could do together that would really focus on her and that would add some Christmas joy to our lives. I wanted it to be something that we could share every year, too, no matter her age. So, I started a tradition of taking her out the weekend before Christmas to buy a new ornament…and after she finds the perfect one, we go out for hot chocolate together, which is generally the highlight of the outing!  Today was our fifth year going together, and I love that this tradition always reminds me that sometimes stress and sadness really can lead to something full of love and happiness.

Today was also a special day because it was B’s first time to go on an ornament outing.  He walked into the Hallmark store and literally seemed blown away by all the ornaments and by the fact that he got to choose one to bring home.  He found this firehouse ornament the minute we walked in and never wavered.  He looked at all the other ones, but – in the end – this was the one he came back to, the one that’s now adorning our tree.

I took both kiddos on separate trips.  I drove C to Hallmark, then to Starbucks, and then home.  I switched kiddos when we got there, drove B to Hallmark, then to Starbucks, and then home.  The people at Hallmark and Starbucks probably wondered what was up with this crazy lady making two trips into each store on the Saturday before Christmas – likely one of the busiest shopping days of the year!  But that’s okay.  I wanted to take them separately, as the one-on-one time I get to spend with them during our ornament outing is as exciting and special to me as the whipped cream-topped cocoa is to them!



  • susu - I have always LOVED (!!!) this wonderful, special tradition with C & now, so excited you have included B on the 2nd go-round !! 🙂
    Such sweet photos — & I loved your heartwarming story — This will always be a very special memory for both of them —ReplyCancel

  • Lacey - This is so wonderful! I can only imagine how special this time is for you and your children and how much they will fondly remember your tradition when they are older. They’ll probably remember purchasing each ornament, too!ReplyCancel

  • Dani - Ashley, this is so wonderful! I love that you started this with C when she was so young and that she loves it still. And that little B is now included in the tradition. I might have to “borrow” it in a few years. Beautiful photos, as always. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Ann - I love this tradition Ashley! My husband and I buy an ornament for each other every year and have done so since we started dating. Hallmark has a plane series and my hubby gets a plane every year since he works in Aviation ;). I started buying ornaments for Ian and now Cole too to continue to tradition. I think I will transition to them getting to pick their own. It is a great way to spend quality time with the littles.<3ReplyCancel

  • Penelope - Your daughter looks just like you!ReplyCancel

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